09/15/2015 Stephanie Anderson

Job hunter pet peeves: Bad recruiter habits you hate

shutterstock_289437032In last week’s post we addressed the top pet peeves of recruiters. There were tons of great responses, but we noticed a strong theme. Many of them came from job seekers who noted that recruiters aren’t perfect either — just like the rest of us.

In today’s post, we want to highlight the woes of job seekers, as many are at their wit’s end with recruiters and the bad habits they’ve developed. Here are the most popular pet peeves that drive job seekers crazy, pulled directly from your comments about recruiters:

No follow-up

The #1 sin (IMHO) committed by recruiters: no follow-up from the recruiter after the candidate has taken the time to complete the interview when the employer is not moving forward with that candidate,” says Financial Controller James Skinner. “I guess no contact is a clear sign you weren’t chosen, but a phone call from the recruiter with a formal update and reasons given by their client (if any) is the bare minimum of etiquette in my opinion. And not two weeks later.

Too focused on money

“What I dislike, I mean really dislike, are recruiters who ask you to submit salary expectations along with your CV,” says Research Director Ross Armstrong. “If I were to walk into an interview and the first thing out of my mouth is ‘What does this job pay?’ the recruiter would — and quite rightly so — rule me out immediately for being far [more] interested in money than in the job itself, or helping the company, or being a good corporate citizen, etc. Now let’s reverse it. When a prospective employer is asking for my salary expectations, then that says to me all the company cares about is how much I’m going to cost them.”


“Rude recruiting. I’ve had it all. Pushy recruiters trying to get you to sign as quick as you can so they can move on to the next body. Repeated calls without leaving messages (I received three empty calls from the same person in under 25 minutes already today). Recruiters treating me rudely if I choose not to take the position they’re selling, whether it’s in the initial call or after the interview,” says contract Software Engineer Roy Grimm.
Too self-centered
Associate Chetana Venkataramana notes that some recruiters seem to be focused only on what’s in it for them. “Recruiters who work more for the hiring company than for the candidate and have [minimal] follow-through skills,” says Venkataramana. “I want something akin to a talent agent: my interests are yours. Your interests shouldn’t be about how many resumes you can send the hiring company, hopefully one lands, and you get your commission.” Now to be fair to recruiters, they are employed by the company, not you. It’s unrealistic to expect a recruiter to prioritize you over the folks providing their paycheck and measuring their success. Job seekers will be most successful when they keep in mind that the recruiters loyalties lie with their employer. If you’re looking for a talent agent, you are going to need to pay for it.

Lack of preparedness
It’s not just job candidates who are ill-prepared at times; Solutions Architect Daniel McAloon has dealt with recruiters with the same flaw. “Recruiters who spend the first 10 minutes of the interview reading your resume because they haven’t bothered to even learn your name until you’re sitting in front of them (holding your pen and wearing your suit), waiting for them to start the thing they called you to set up,” are what irks McAloon.

Contact about unrelated jobs
“Back when I was looking for work, I always ‘loved’ it when I would get a call for a position and the job was unrelated to my resume or anything I was looking for,” says Senior Mechanical Engineer Roger Horn. “They somehow picked up one keyword that was totally unrelated to anything I was looking for or they were as well. Do yourself a favor and stop wasting time and actually review a resume per the job description!”

Applicant tracking systems

Operations Research Leader Jonathan Shoemaker voices his distaste for applicant tracking systems. “The ATS we have been forced to use over the years [doesn’t] give any discernible feedback to the candidate,” he says. “On paper I love what [an] ATS is supposed to do, however it flops worse than a fish outta water in practice.”
Have points to add?
What other bad recruiter habits have you experienced? While there are many amazing recruiters out there, what are some of the stories you have heard or gone through as a job seeker that make you shake your head?

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